Orphics: I. Smoke. — II. Haze

By Henry D. Thoreau


Light-winged Smoke, Icarian bird,
Melting thy pinions in thy upward flight,
Lark without song, and messenger of dawn,
Circling above the hamlets as thy nest;
Or else, departing dream, and shadowy form
Of midnight vision, gathering up thy skirts;
By night star-veiling, and by day
Darkening the light and blotting out the sun;
Go thou my incense upward from this hearth,
And ask the gods to pardon this clear flame.


Woof of the sun, etherial gauze,
Woven of nature’s richest stuffs,
Visible heat, air-water, and dry sea,
Last conquest of the eye ;
Toil of the displayed, sun-dust,
Aerial surf upon the shores of earth,
Etherial estuary, frith of light,
Breakers of air, billows of heat,
Fine summer spray on inland seas ;
Bird of the sun, transparent-winged,
Owlet of noon, soft-pinioned,
From heath or stubble rising without song ;
Establish thy serenity o’er the fields.

Source: The Dial (April 1843) pp. 505-506.